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Stillwater Entrepreneur Plans New Restaurant for Corner of Seventh and Main | News

STILLWATER – Another of the long unused spaces in downtown Stillwater is the subject of an ambitious redevelopment project.

Drew Williamson, who along with his wife Constance owns and operates Zannotti’s and Meditations, is planning to turn the corner of Seventh and Main into a new fine-dining restaurant.

He presented his project to the Stillwater Economic Development Authority during a recent meeting. Appreciating what they heard, the city councilors, as SEDA trustees, have authorized city staff to work on an agreement to provide $1 million in tax-raising funding through TIF District No. 3 of the Downtown Campus Link.

Williamson plans to transform the buildings at 622 and 624 S. Main into a 5,000-square-foot restaurant and bar, a 2,800-square-foot private dining space, covered alfresco dining, and four top-floor Airbnb apartments.

Chief Performance Innovation Officer Brady Moore said the project has an estimated total development cost of approximately $4.5 million, which includes a $1.6 million purchase price and $2.4 million renovation estimate. .

Williamson said the basement area of ​​the building is a space that could work for overflow dinners or be rented out for private parties.

It’s an ambitious idea, Williamson told administrators, that started with a smaller field to move Zannotti across the street to a larger space.

“Once I saw what was there, I thought that not only could we put a restaurant in that allows for a fine dining area in the city of Stillwater, but also complements the area and everything else there is,” he said. said Williamson. “Why am I here today, I could buy the building on the corner, move Zannotti across the street, do exactly what I have to do to justify it – what I’m trying to do is really build something that you could pick up you could put in the downtown Dallas, downtown Oklahoma City, and Kansas City create a destination place for people who not only citizens here but also people who will come to visit.

The TIF Committee unanimously approved the plan in January. Moore said the funding would be overdue. The estimated return is 13 years. Williamson said his estimated closing date on the building is in September, by which time Lambert Construction will begin renovations that are expected to take seven to nine months.

“One of the questions people ask about tax increase funding and why we need it, they say, ‘Isn’t this stuff going to happen by itself without us providing funding?’ I would specifically point to this building as a great example of things not happening,” Mayor Will Joyce said. “For us to be able to step in and say we have some capacity to fund a tax increase and get a building that is sitting empty for 13 years and putting it back into productive use in one of the main corners of our city center is a good reason for me to say let’s figure out how to make that happen.

“Having someone who has the experience and knows what they’re doing to be able to accomplish this is really exciting.”

SEDA unanimously approved the decision to entrust municipal staff with drawing up the redevelopment contract.

“It’s nice so many of the submissions that have come to us are from within our community, they don’t come from outside our community,” said councilor Amy Dzialowski. “I think it’s a really exciting thing to see you investing here.”

Simmons is editor of Stillwater News Press.

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